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Gamify Your Classroom

A Field Guide to Game-Based Learning – Revised edition


Matthew Farber

This completely revised and expanded field guide is packed with new innovative ideas on how to implement game-based learning and gamification techniques in everyday teaching. With nearly two dozen more experts than the first edition, this book contains interviews with more than 70 authorities in the field, including academics such as James Paul Gee, Kurt Squire, Mizuko (Mimi) Ito, Lee Sheldon, Jordan Shapiro, and Mary Flanagan. The author also shares conversations with experts from numerous organizations such as Common Sense Media, iCivics, DragonBox, Connected Camps, GlassLab Games, Schell Games, Institute of Play, Games for Change, BrainPOP, Tiggly, Toca Boca, ThinkFun, BrainQuake, Filament Games, BreakoutEDU, Kahoot, Classcraft, and more. Featuring a new introduction, as well as a foreword from USA Today’s national K-12 education writer Greg Toppo, this book provides new practical lesson plan ideas, ready-to-use games, and links for further research in each updated chapter. Included are best practice recommendations from star game-based learning teachers, including Steve Isaacs, Peggy Sheehy, Michael Matera, Rafranz Davis, Zack Gilbert, and Paul Darvasi. Regardless of your teaching discipline or grade level, whether you are new to game-based learning or if you have experience and want to take a deeper dive, this book will engage and reinvigorate the way you teach and how your students learn!

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Chapter 8. Teaching with Minecraft


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Markus “Notch” Persson, a Swedish computer programmer, developed Minecraft in 2009. The game now boasts hundred million of active users that either destroy (mine) or build (craft) in its blocky, virtual world. It was an independent release by Persson’s company, Mojang (a nonsensical Swedish word). Rather than iterating the Minecraft game with nonstop sequels as most game publishers have (e.g., Assassin’s Creed III, Fallout IV), Mojang pushes out content updates to the growing world. It can be played on PCs, consoles, tablets, and smartphones.

In March 2014, I spoke to game design professor Richard Bartle about Minecraft’s popularity. Minecraft empowers users by giving everyone a canvas to build their own virtual world. He compared it to the timeless success of LEGO. He said, “It’s the great construction set, and you can build what you like in the sandbox mode.” Bartle elaborated:

As for what you use Minecraft for [in education]—the question is, what are the learning outcomes, which tend to be expressed in much blander terms. Are your students more creative than when they went in? The teaching profession acts as a brake on that type of thing. Personally, I like that, because when people play, they explore not just what they are playing with, but also their own play processes. ← 141 | 142 →

Steve Isaacs is an outspoken proponent of student choice and voice, as well as co-learning, in the classroom. When...

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